View Full Version : Space Shuttle Piggy-back ride

21st Aug 2005, 20:15
Anyone know anything on the operations involving this?

How heavy is the Shuttle? The 747-200 can carry a max of 112 Tonnes fom what I rememember. I'm sure Boeing would have modified the aircraft for Nasa to carry the shuttle. What cruising altitude can it reach?

21st Aug 2005, 20:19
Found this for NASA 905 and 911 :

Airspeed limits with, and without an orbiter: 250 knots or Mach 0.6

Altitude: Typical cruise with orbiter, 13,000-15,000 ft MSL; typical cruise unmated, 24,000-26,000 ft MSL. Minimum temperature at altitude 15 degrees (F) (-9 degrees C) or 8 psi ambient pressure

Range : Typical mated, 1000 nautical miles (with reserves); maximum unmated, 5500 nautical miles

More here (http://www.astronautix.com/stages/nasa747.htm)

21st Aug 2005, 20:20
The shuttle weighs approx 165,000Lbs. I found a very good site that give all the info.

Shuttle info (http://www.columbiassacrifice.com/&0_shttlovrvw.htm)

21st Aug 2005, 20:26
Excellent! Thanks for that lads.

She's back safe and sound!


I'm thinking of buying the shuttles off NASA and starting a cargo package delivery service to the ISS. What do you think?!

21st Aug 2005, 20:28
Great idea :ok:

I bagsie loadmaster.

21st Aug 2005, 20:31
You got it Jerricho, congratulations. My first employee!

I am going to call the Spaceline. OPS Orbital Parcel Services

21st Aug 2005, 21:00
How would you explain to your customers that their urgently needed booster rocket ended up on Jupiter by mistake!;)

21st Aug 2005, 22:06
Can we paint the shuttles a different colour? That white is pretty boring.

Buster Hyman
21st Aug 2005, 22:46
Be careful of the Bilateral agreement there lads! Next thing you know there'll be shit raining down from orbit...a la Skylab Delivery Services!!!

21st Aug 2005, 22:55
Problem is, don't space vehicles have to be white?

If not I'm all for a nice blue with maybe red added in. I'll leave that to the marketing department!

I remember watching the Apollo missions and seeing it as certain that by the year 2000, surely we'd have moon bases and long range missions to the outer planets with regular space flights....

21st Aug 2005, 23:19
They still got fairies and pixies and stuff in Ireland right?

21st Aug 2005, 23:44
Nah, that's only in the Northern Territory in oz, all the heat mate!

Secret Squire
22nd Aug 2005, 00:44
I know nothign about any of that, but in a Bond fim they did take the shuttle off from the back of the 747 - GROOVY BABY!

Howard Hughes
22nd Aug 2005, 00:53
Nah, that's only in the Northern Territory in oz,
Well at Shenanigans anyway.

Seems like a Pixie and an outta work pilot look a lot alike to me...;)

16 blades
22nd Aug 2005, 03:09
Wonder what the ODM drag index correction is for the "Having a F88king big spaceship parked on your back" config is?


22nd Aug 2005, 09:17
does anybody know how they go about getting the shuttle on and off the back of the jumbo?

22nd Aug 2005, 09:21
I believe the orbiters are placed atop the SCAs by Mate-Demate Devices, large gantry-like structures that hoist the orbiters off the ground for post-flight servicing, and then mate them with the SCAs for ferry flights.

Ther are three struts with associated interior structural strengthening protrude from the top of the fuselage (two aft, one forward) on which the orbiter is attached.

That's courtesy of Jerricho's link.

Must be a slow process to ensure everything goes right!

Would the shuttle actually aid lift in these circumstances??

22nd Aug 2005, 09:49
See here (http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Movie/747_SCA/HTML/EM-0064-02.html).

22nd Aug 2005, 10:19
From an in the Guardian last week describing the shuttle carrier:-

'During a flight, the plane needs very careful treatment. "You've got to imagine it'll affect the centre of gravity of the aircraft because [the shuttle's] sitting on the back. When the 747 normally flies, all its weight is normally inside the tube that is the aircraft," says Martin Barstow, a physicist at Leicester University. "I can imagine the handling characteristics of the plane will be dramatically different because of that."

For that reason, the positioning of the shuttle is important to stop the SCA pilot having to make too many adjustments. "From a pilot's perspective, it needs to be balanced so that you're not at the limit of pulling up or the limit of pulling down," says Mervyn Granshaw, chairman of the British Airline Pilots' Association.

The aerodynamics of the 747 will also be affected by the shuttle. "Hurtling the shuttle through the air will produce some lift on its wings, although not enough to interfere with flight," says Granshaw.

The SCAs have vertical stabilisers added to their tails to add stability and improve aerodynamics but that doesn't prevent the combined SCA-shuttle from being very fuel inefficient. The SCA can typically fly around 1,000 nautical miles in one go, compared to a normal range of around 5,500 nautical miles for an unladen 747. Discovery's return to Florida, therefore, will take 12 hours of flight time spread over two or three days.

"You couldn't fly it in strong crosswinds or turbulent conditions," says Granshaw. "The ability to recover from upset or recover from speed in an unstable situation will be limited."

As a result (and also because the shuttle's external tiles are susceptible to the elements) a second plane flies ahead of the SCA to act as a weather scout. This "pathfinder" aircraft looks out for storm clouds and warns the SCA pilots of high winds or turbulence.

"We've all, to one degree or another, flown in unusual circumstances and this is just another set of unusual circumstances," says Granshaw. "Providing you've been trained in it and understand the limitations of it, I shouldn't think it's too demanding."'

Gingerbread Man
22nd Aug 2005, 11:36
Does anyone know the final approach speed of the shuttle (on it's own) ? I seem to remember footage of shock waves leaving it on final approach, but this may be complete rubbish, especially as it doesn't seem to be going any faster than an airliner on touchdown.

Ginge :cool:

22nd Aug 2005, 11:49
I thought it was 250 knots, though I may be wrong.

Mr Chips
22nd Aug 2005, 13:08
Y'all do know that this piggy back ride is nothing new? I saw it on a tour of the UK 'kin years ago when I was but a lad....

henry crun
22nd Aug 2005, 22:47
I seem to remember a limiting speed of 225kts printed on the wall of a shuttle tyre if thats any help.

Gingerbread Man
22nd Aug 2005, 23:12
Almost certainly rubbish then. I suppose it depends on how long the approach is!